A member of the US negotiating team leaves his position in the midst of the nuclear talks with Iran

Richard Nephew, the deputy US special envoy to Iran, left his position on the team charged with negotiating the nuclear file, which the Wall Street Journal attributed to differences of opinion.

A US State Department official confirmed on Monday that Richard Nephew is no longer a member of the negotiating team, but he remains a State Department employee.

The official did not give a reason for Nephew’s departure from the team, but he said that the movements of individuals are “very common” after a year in the age of the US administration.

Earlier, the Wall Street Journal said that Nephew left after differences of opinion within the US negotiating team. The newspaper reported that Nephew was in favor of a tougher approach in the current negotiations.

His departure comes at a critical time, with the United States and its European allies saying there are only weeks left before the chance to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

And resumed talks hosted by Vienna in this regard about two months ago.

The US State Department reiterated on Monday that it remains open to meeting with Iranian officials directly to discuss the nuclear deal and other issues, after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Tehran would study the matter but had not taken any decision.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said, in a press briefing, that the United States did not make Iran’s release of 4 Americans a condition for reaching an agreement between the two countries to resume compliance with the nuclear agreement.

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